FW: response from Major Glasser re Willlow/Dante "catch and release"

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Jul 13, 2008, 11:19:07 AM7/13/08
to Joliet-Freret-Cambronne Neighborhood
This is an e-mail that Alice Anne Krishnan just sent out- many of you
may have already seen it, but I wanted to make sure it got to everyone
on our list.

Hello all,

Well, here's an answer to an action item of our 7/9 meeting, about
what went down re the Dante/Willow drug arrest. To refresh your
memory, a resident called in a dealer who was doing business on her
front stoop. The NOPD responded immediately and arrested a suspect.
CRNA-CC wrote the DA, asking that they take prosecution of this crime
seriously. Unfortunately, according to the DA, the evidence, a
syringe, tested negative for narcotics and they could not prosecute.

Major Glasser has sent us an impressively detailed email (see below)
about the arrest and charge process.

I suppose to bring this full circle, it would be good to track down
info on the Jefferson Parish warrants for the suspect and for CRNA-CC
to write a letter to the Jeff Parish DA? Any volunteers to help with

I still plan to be at NONPACC this Tues nite (7pm, Touro Hospital, 2nd
floor) to use this as a case study example.


From Major Glasser:

Sorry I could not respond in time for your meeting, but it took me a
little bit of time to procure a copy of the report and review it. Here
is the problem. The defendant was arrested for several outstanding
warrants from Jefferson Parish. The crimes for which those warrants
were issued will, of course, be prosecuted on their own merits in
Jefferson Parish.

At the time of the arrest on Dante Street , the defendant was
searched incidental to arrest. That is a legal custodial search
performed anytime someone is arrested. The defendant was discovered to
have a syringe in his possession. He was then additionally charged
with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia ( Louisiana revised Statute
40:1033). This charge hinges on the idea that the syringe was Drug
Paraphernalia. Now it should be mentioned that a syringe, in and of
itself, is not an illegal tool. Were it to be, physicians, nurses,
diabetics, EMTs, or anyone with a legitimate medical use for a
syringe, etc., would all be violators. What makes the syringe “Drug
Paraphernalia” is the use or intended use of the tool illegitimately,
such as with a Controlled Dangerous Substance (or what we commonly
refer to as DOPE). The legal conclusion that the syringe is Drug
Paraphernalia is then tied to one of two circumstances. Either the
syringe has inside it, a
Controlled Dangerous Substance, either in substantial quantity or
even trace amounts, OR, it is found in close proximity to a Controlled
Dangerous Substance, OR with some other circumstance that can be
articulated that would strongly suggest its intended illegal use.

In this instance, a forensic test revealed the syringe to have NO
amount of Controlled Dangerous Substance, either substantial or in
trace quantities, nor were there any other attendant circumstances
that could be articulated that would point to the device (no pun
intended) as being intended for use as Drug Paraphernalia. It was
merely found in the defendant’s possession.

In that light, it would be impossible to demonstrate to the
satisfaction of the Trial Court, that this ordinarily legal medical
tool was certainly being used for, or was intended for use as illegal
Drug Paraphernalia, despite our very strong hunch that it was. Thus,
the District Attorney was compelled to dismiss the Drug Charge.

By the way, had the defendant been arrested AFTER the syringe was
used, it would have tested positive for CDS (Controlled Dangerous
Substance) and the case would have been Accepted for prosecution.
Simply put, he was lucky to have been arrested on the warrants before
he could shoot up.

Hope that explains this particular issue. You may be confident that
I am aware of this problem location and intend to provide the degree
of enforcement necessary to improve the quality of life in that area.
I would like to encourage the continued provision of information to us
regarding violators to assist us in this endeavor, and I’ll be
delighted to answer any other questions you may have regarding this,
or any other matter.

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